In response to a few of your concerns, no I haven’t gotten lost in the wilderness, eaten by a grizzly bear or abducted by mountain goats. Yes, I have been a bit absent, I’ll admit. So what’s been going on?
In early August, for the first time in a long time, I had no desire to climb on a horse. I had no motivation to do much of anything. I fell of my normal exercise and eating routine and felt even worse, but I couldn’t seem to get myself to straighten up and fly right. I think it was a compilation of the stress at work, caring and rehabbing JB, and balancing a couple of other stressful personal situations that have come up this summer. Basically, I hit a wall and started experiencing bad Ju Ju… (or at least that is what a friend called it, whatever Ju Ju is…)
So I took a much needed vacation. 14 days days of R&R to be exact. I wasn’t productive at all, I didn’t really go anywhere special, and I only climbed on a horse once. Since, I have slowly managed to regain some traction in the motivation department. I am back in the saddle and have resumed some sort of conditioning routine with Maggie. I decided that for the fall season,(however long it may last before the weather turns too bad) I would focus on building Maggie’s stamina on the hill work. Long ,slow hill work. It’s her weak spot.
During my funk, Maggie ended up getting about 3 weeks off by the time I pulled myself back together. So we lost some ground in the fitness area but I am happy to report with things getting back to a normal routine, Maggie was making some good gains on her endurance on the uphill climbs. Things were humming right along until about two weeks ago.
Two things have reared their ugly heads in an attempt to derail us. The first thing is that it appears I am having some saddle fitting issue now with Maggie. She has already started getting her winter coat (ughh) The first time I went to put a saddle back on her after her long hiatus, I noticed white hairs on her back, right where the bars of the saddle lay. Not only that, but the hair coming in had arippled looked to it.. definitely a problem. The worst of it is towards the front and while there are more white hairs on the right side, they are present on both sides. I was shocked... really. My saddle does actually does fit her quite well, even had it checked, and approved, by a professional saddle fitter this past spring. Her back hasn’t changed all that much, atleast not to the naked eye. I have been using the same pad situation all summer. The sweat patterns always looked even. So why/how did the white hairs appear now? Why would they show up during a time when she wasn’t being ridden at all? I have consistently checked her for soreness in her back and she has never once shown any soreness, even after the 35 mile ride in July.
I have had poor fitting saddles before but never had an issue where white hairs showed up.
......................So what am I missing!? !
So here is where you readers come in.... help please...
How long does it/can it take from the time the saddle starts putting pressure to the time when the white hairs show up? Could it be that the saddle has been putting pressure on her all summer and the hairs are just now showing up because her winter coat is coming in??
Or could she really have developed them from one or two rides where the saddle wasn’t riding right? Can white hairs appear that fast?? Still, wouldn’t she exhibit back soreness?
I did remember that one of the last times I rode in the saddle, prior to her hiatus, the saddle seemed to be creaking more than I recalled it ever doing. I remember thinking that was odd and chekcing out the saddle but everything seemed in check. I didn’t give it much more thought. Maybe the saddle is needing reflocked?? I guess I also need to check the tree, make sure that something hasn’t happened there. I thought I would also try riding my older gelding in it and see if it creeks with him. If it doesn't, maybe that indicates it really doesn't fit her anymore??? I'll report back on that.
So for now, until I can figure this out, I am riding her in my Western wade, which is working well as far as fit.. for her. It’s just a bit heavier than I prefer and isn’t real comfortable for me for long hours…. But I’ll deal with it I suppose.
The second issue that has creeped up on us is that Maggie started coughing during a conditioning ride about a week and a half ago. At first I thought it was due to dryness of everything. It had been very dusty. Last weekend, I hadn’t heard her cough in a couple days and thought it was resolving. She wasn’t exhibiting any other symptoms to indicate she was ill. No snotty nose, no wheezing, no temp, eating drinking, etc. So, chalking it up to the dryness, I opted to head out for a 4 hr ride last Sunday. She seemed fine for the first several miles, but I noticed she seemed a bit lethargic. About half way through the ride, the coughing started whenever we would do more than a walk. I also noticed she was showing some discharge from her nose but it wasn’t yellow, more of a grayish/whitish color. So we finished our ride short and headed home. I took her temp which was well within normal range. I watched her for the rest of the weekend closely. In an hour of being within earshot of her, I heard her cough three times. Not a lot and not consistent but she did continue to act lethargic , even out in pasture. By Monday afternoon , her nasal discharge was bit more on the yellow side but then later her nose was dry, with a little clear fluid. It seems maybe she is fighting something off and I would imagine if it were serious she would have shown more in the way of symptoms. None of the other horses are exhibiting any symptoms either, which is good. So, for now the vet says to let her rest for a week and see how she does. If she gets worse, I'll probably have to take her into the clinic. I am hoping she just has a little cold due to the extreme weather change we had. 80’s to low 60’s and wet … certainly makes me want to cough and go hide under a blanket.